Toronto. In the late 1950s I was training to install, operate and maintain a radio system to bring communications to the wilds of Northern Quebec and Labrador. Part of the training included a trip to the manufacturer’s factory in Belleville where the equipment was being made.
Dan F. brought along a nifty little spy camera and took shots in the factory to the dismay of our teacher/leader. We processed the grainy little negatives that evening in Dan’s hotel room. The tiny precision camera was a Minox IIIs – about 3/4s the price of a Leica in those days.
The camera came with a four element fixed aperture f/3.5 lens and used a curved film plane as part of the lens correction. The tiny negative was 8×11 mm – about 1/10 of a 35mm camera negative. Years later, I took 3rd prize in a contest using a Minox B. I shot a horse and caleche in Montreal at night and enlarged the image 48x!
The other day, as I casually used the 5mp camera on my iPod Touch, it occurred to me that the Touch had a camera roughly equal to the resolution of the Minox. The Touch’s 3.3mm f/2.4 wide-angle lens does closeups, auto focusses, has flash, and adjusts the f-stop and ISO (ASA) to suit the lighting. It does both B&W and colour – and 1080p video too.
Now everyone with a smart phone (most people) also have a tiny spy camera with them. For example, my wife recently replaced her cell phone when Public Mobile shut down its old network. Her Samsung smart phone sports a 5mp camera.
Last year, when we looked at bathroom appliances, only ONE store posted a NO CAMERAS sign (which everyone seemed to ignore). With smart phones, cameras are ubiquitous! And they can do both colour and video with instant results. MINOX anyone?